Advancement will be in accordance with BSA National Policies, Indian Water Council Policies and standard Troop 4 practices. Boys registered with Troop 4 are expected to be active participants in the scouting program.
Advancement in Boy Scouts is not automatic. It is absolutely essential for each boy to use his personal initiative if he intends to advance in rank. Troop 4 provides ample opportunity for each boy who joins to advance all the way to Eagle Scout, if he so chooses. Each Scout must set his own goals.
Two Categories of Advancement
Advancement can be broken down into two categories:
Each rank (Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle) has a specific set of requirements, which must be met before the Scout can earn that rank. The most important requirement is that he is active in the troop. The last two requirements for every rank except Scout are: "participate in a Scoutmaster Conference" and "meet with a Board of Review." A Scoutmaster conference can be held at any time, but the final Scoutmaster Conference is held when the Scout has completed all of the requirements for the rank he is working on. A Board of Review consists of adults from the Troop Committee who review a Scout's record and performance, and the board members decide whether he has learned/retained enough knowledge to justify earning that rank. If a Scout passes a Board of Review, he will be awarded his new rank at the next scheduled Court of Honor. If he does not pass he will be told exactly what is expected of him to pass the next time he meets with the board. Boards of Review meet as deemed necessary (prior to an upcoming Court of Honor). To meet with a Board of Review, a Scout must have had a Scoutmaster Conference (conferences may be held prior to or on the same day scheduled to meet with the Board).
A Scout must comply with the following requirements when attending a Board of Review and/or Scoutmaster Conference:
Be in full "Class A" uniform;
Have his Boy Scout Handbook with him; and
Be current in paying his dues.
Scoutmasters or Assistant Scoutmasters will review and check the accomplishments of the various requirements associated with the each rank. Merit Badges may be entered in the Scout Manual by the individual scout with verification at the Scoutmaster's Conference.
All portions of the rank section of the scout's handbook (except Scout Spirit) must be signed off and dated prior to the Scoutmaster's Conference. It is the responsibility of the Patrol Leader to ensure the scout is prepared, in the correct uniform, and the handbook completed prior to the conference.
IMPORTANT: The Boy Scout Handbook must be in the possession of the Scout at all Troop activities, events, camping trips, etc., except where otherwise indicated.
Merit badges are earned by Troop 4 Scouts as an individual (home, with other Scouts, etc.) or/and as a group (i.e., Merit Badge University, Boy Scout Camp, Troop 4 meetings, camping trips, etc.). While earning merit badges is a requirement for Star, Life, and Eagle ranks, Scouts of other ranks, though not required, may also work on merit badges. Troop 4 does encourage Scouts to obtain that Swimming and First Aid Merit Badges early, as the Troop participates in many water related events throughout the year.
A Scout wishing to earn a merit badge must comply with the following guidelines:
a. When working on a Merit Badge individually or with another scout/other scouts- Secure a signed Merit Badge Request Form (blue card) from the Scoutmaster /Advancement Chair and fill out the administrative portions of the form; or
b. Obtain the name of a merit badge counselor from the Advancement Chair/BSA Indian Waters Council Office (750-9868) and contact that merit badge counselor to schedule a meeting/interview; and
c. Acquire a merit badge pamphlet (not mandatory but helpful from the Scout Shop) and comply with the requirements for that badge. The Troop maintains a shared merit badge pamphlet library (maintained by the Troop Librarian). Scouts working on badges are welcome to check-out these pamphlets and are encouraged to return them on a timely basis. Please check before you buy.
Note: When working on a Merit Badge in a group setting (Troop meeting, Camping Trip, etc.), the Advancement chair will provide a worksheet for the counselor to sign-off.
Scouts will work with a merit badge counselor in completing requirements for individual merit badges. To comply with BSA Child Protection Policy, a Counselor will only work with a group of at least two Scouts (or Scout and friend/family member). Upon completing all requirements of a merit badge, he will be tested by a merit badge counselor. The merit badge counselor is the only person authorized to sign off on a blue card/worksheet.
Once the blue card is signed by the counselor and the Scoutmaster, the scout must turn in the appropriate portion to the Troop Advancement Chair. The merit badge is not complete until the requested form is signed by the counselor, signed by the Scoutmaster, and returned to the Troop Advancement Chair. The merit badge will be awarded at the following Court of Honor.
Merit badges earned at summer camp or other group activities do not require blue cards. All merit badges earned during the summer (including Summer Camp) are presented at the September Court of Honor.
Parents/Relatives/Family Friends are encouraged to assist the Troop by acting as merit badge counselors. A list of merit badges can be obtained from the Advancement Chair or Scout Shop, at www.meritbadge.com, or in the BoyScout Handbook. A BSA application and merit badge counselor application must be completed at no cost to the applicant or Troop.
Courts of Honor
Courts of Honor are held at least four times a year in September, December, and March and May. Members of the Troop are generally asked to bring a potluck dessert to the meeting. Courts of Honor are formal occasions and scouts are required to wear full dress uniforms (Class A). Courts of Honor are used to formally recognize the achievements of all scouts in the Troop for the past four months. Awards presented at Courts of Honor include merit badges, rank advancement, and special awards (i.e., council patches). The May Court of Honor also recognizes outstanding attendance at Troop Meetings and campouts as well as Scout of the Year.
Eagle Courts of Honor
Eagle Courts of Honor are convened on and as required to accommodate those scouts advancing to the rank of Eagle. Eagle Courts of Honor are very special and all members of the Troop are strongly encouraged to attend in full dress uniform.
Some ranks require scouts to participate in a service project. The Troop will normally offer the opportunity to earn service hours during the course of the year. One recurring opportunity is to work on another scout's Eagle Project. Community service is applicable to the scouting program and a scout can earn hours outside the Troop by participating in an approved project. The project must be approved in advance by the Scoutmaster or an Assistant Scoutmaster.
All service hours must be recorded on a service hour form available from the Troop Advancement Chair. The form needs to be completed by the participating scout and signed by the adult responsible for the project (or by the Eagle candidate). The scout should enter the hours for the respective rank in his Scout Handbook. The Scoutmaster/Assistant Scoutmaster will initial the Scout Handbook when accompanied by the service hour form. Once entered and initialed in the Scout Handbook, the service hour form will be kept for future reference (saved with "Blue Card" receipts and other documents by the Troop Advancement Chair.
Other Awards that can be earned by Scouts, Leaders, Patrols, or Troops
Baden-Powell Patrol Award Snorkeling, BSA
Bishop's Award of Excellence Mile Swim, BSA
BSA National President's Scoutmaster Award Scout Recruiter Patch
Community Service Awards Firemín Chit
50 Hours Community Service Award Totiní Chip
100 Hours Community Service Award Boardsailing, BSA
National Camping Award Leave No Trace
Order of the Arrow BSA Lifeguard
Religious Emblems Paul Bunyan Woodsman
William T. Hornaday Awards World Conservation Award
International Recognitions Den Chief Service Award
US Army Youth Certificate of Recognition Internet Scout Patch
The Young American Award National Quality Troop
Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Awards Quality Unit Award
50-Miler Award Silver Beaver
Historic Trails Award Boy Scout Woodbadge
Websites of containing information on advancements and awards: